Moffat Flying High With Title Of ‘Scotland’s First Eagle Town’

The Team from ‘Visit Moffat’ Have worked with the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project for the past 18 months and are delighted to announce that Moffat is to become Scotland’s First Eagle Town.
A Spokesperson for Visit Moffat said “The celebrations will start with an Eagle Festival, from September 13th to the 20th. Please put the date in your diary.

Moffat Academy, Moffat Mountain Rescue, Moffat Farmers’ Market and several businesses are already onside, so we are now inviting the whole town to join in.

Why Golden Eagles? Well, the Moffat Hills are often described as mini-highlands, owing to our 300 sq kms of hills, outstanding scenery and rich wildlife. Less than a mile from the motorway, we are ideally situated to become Scotland’s First Eagle Town, to host the first Eagle Festival, and to celebrate the Golden Eagle – very probably Scotland’s most iconic species. These are unique reasons for visitors to stop and explore Moffat before they pass through the Southern Uplands.

Our aim is to establish Moffat as not only Scotland’s First Eagle Town, and the first place to see Golden Eagles in Scotland, but also to establish Moffat and the Moffat Hills as a leading nature-based visitor destination, and to create a lasting legacy.”

Here are some suggestions from the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project staff, volunteers and partners for what they could provide for the Festival:

• A visit from a Golden Eagle: Ray, from the Kielder Bird of Prey Centre, presents Mac, the male Golden Eagle and a host of other raptors from the UK and beyond.
• A Programme of Speakers: a collection of speakers presenting talks on the Golden Eagle and other related topics. We aim to secure high profile talks from well-known public figures with a background in eagles.
• Stalls promoting the work of SSGEP, RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Forestry, Scottish Land & Estates, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels, Wild Eskdale, and the Scottish Raptor Study Group.
• Training – Raptor ID Course: learn how to recognise raptors in Eagle Country and, for example, to tell the difference between an eagle and a buzzard.
• Guided Walks: in conjunction with Moffat Mountain Rescue – step out into Eagle Country with a guide from the Eagle Project to enjoy the wildlife of the Moffat Hills.
• Through the Eyes of an Eagle: climb into an Eagle Eyrie with Wild Tree Adventures and see Moffat through the eyes of an eaglet in the nest.
• Name an Eagle: Enter an online competition to name a young eagle from the 2020 release. Winners will be announced at the Festival.
• Learn with Laurie Campbell: join Scotland’s Premier wildlife photographer Laurie Campbell on an instructional workshop to explore new approaches to your photography.
• Eagle Run: enter our predator/prey style hill run as either an eagle or its prey.
• An Eagle Information Centre: a permanent area in which a flat screen TV and several information panels can be displayed, so that visitors to the town can find out more about the Eagles.
• A Lasting Legacy: to leave behind a legacy of eagles in Moffat – A sculpture or installation which identifies Moffat as Scotland’s very first Eagle Town. WELCOME TO MOFFAT – Scotland’s First Eagle Town

Here are some suggestions for how local businesses might contribute:

• Eat Like an Eagle: hotels, cafes and restaurants to feature an eagle addition to the menu; possibilities include an Eagle Burger (which may be a special venison burger only available during the festival or similar).
• Eagle Whisky and Ales: the addition of an Eagle Whisky or Beer to bar menus.
• Eagles in Art: a venue on the High Street to host an exhibition from local artists featuring Golden Eagles or the land in which they live.

Here are some suggestions for how our community might contribute:

• Golden Eagle Fancy Dress: a fun fancy-dress competition for the whole family.
• Moffat Wildlife Club: members to lead a guided walk around the nature reserve.
• Street BBQ: an approach to Dougie McKenna, a local venison merchant, to provide a BBQ for visitors on the High Street.
• Eagle Scouts: local Scout Groups to be involved in a variety of tasks as part of their Eagle Champion Badge.
• Eagle Schools: hear from students of Moffat Primary’s ‘Eagle School’, one of the first schools to be awarded the title in all of Scotland.

The Spokesperson for Visit Moffat continued “Although this is a great opportunity for us, it certainly won’t be successful without the enthusiastic involvement of as many businesses, clubs, associations, residents and visitors as possible. Our next stage is to put together a plan for the Festival. It will be a one-off event, and whilst we don’t want to set up big committees, we will need help and a sense of fun to make it work. So if you’d like to do something really useful for our community, please let us know by sending an email to i[email protected] Similarly, if you have experience of managing events, we’d love to hear from you.”

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